Leo's Coney Island - Royal Oak, MI


ENTRY 38 – Late Night at Leo’s


Fifteen minutes and he still isn’t here. Is this the right Coney? I guess it’s a good thing I keep this diary in my purse. He seems like a really nice guy too. Who knows, maybe he’s the one?


He said Leo’s right? We were on the dance floor and I’d had like… a lot of drinks and I could feel he was… excited to be dancing with me. And I said, maybe you want to get out of here? And he’d said Leo’s. And I’d said fifteen minutes. And now here I am.


At least I can look out the window. It feels weird to be sitting in this booth by myself when every other booth is packed with high teenagers. And these tacky Grecian murals on the walls that were probably painted by some friend of somebody who owns the place... the vibe is a little… put on. And I’m here in my black leather skirt and high boots and it’s probably three degrees outside.


I’m definitely alone. I feel like such a skeeve.


Forty five minutes now.  He’s not here yet. Not even a text. I’ve already nursed down two coffees. Maybe he got held up. It is snowing outside. And maybe his phone is out of battery. Or maybe he turned it off? I think I’ll order a gyro.


Food photography is difficult.

C/O Urban Spoon


I pretty much have to keep shifting around because the plastic booth-cushion is sticking my leathered ass to the seat. The gyro was tasty, but in a regretful way. I know the garlic-filled Greek dressing is stinking up my breath. And the soft, vaguely-sweet pita it was wrapped in probably is, as we speak, settling into my waist.


Why do I even think about things like this? Why can’t I just enjoy anything without overthinking it? Is it just me?


It’s been an hour. I have a “Famous” Greek Salad in front of me. It’s probably 2/3 feta. Most of the teens have left. So, I guess this guy might not be coming. No big deal. It’s not like this is the first time. Who knows, though. I feel stupid. Maybe he just got held up? Maybe… 

I ordered a plate of fries.

Why is it so hard to be alone? I like myself, most of the time. I think I look good and my friends think I look great. And they don’t know how I can eat so much and still be so skinny. I tried to call his phone and it went right to that stupid answering-machine woman’s voice. So I don’t even know if it’s his number. Maybe his phone did run out of battery. But it’s been like an hour and a half.


I do feel lonely almost all the time now. When you work with people all day, like I do at the coffee shop, it makes it harder to be alone. I just want to touch somebody, to have them hold me back. It’s weird that we need that. That people need actual physical touch.


"You aren't a Michigan teen until you've snorted Sierra Mist in Leo's."

C/O Flickr user Aaron Gillespie

It’s still snowing so hard outside and every time a couple walks by I can’t help but inspect if the guy is my guy. I can’t even really remember what he looked like. Short brown hair with that little ski-jump spiky-swoosh in the front. He had on a polo that was either light green or blue. I think it had stripes. And that was pretty much it. But that’s all I need at this point: a person. A human. I keep sinking deeper down into my side of the bed while the other side has lost any hint of an imprint.


Two and a half hours and I now have a milkshake in front of me. I’m not even a bit tipsy any more. Except for me, two middle-aged women talking in hushed tones and this crusty guy two booths over who keeps leveling his eyes just below my chin, the place is empty. I should have left two hours ago. More. But the alternative is a cold, silent apartment. The alternative is work in six hours.


I don’t know if this is making me stronger. Everybody talks about how hardship makes you a stronger, more independent person. But when your problem is not wanting to be independent – not wanting to be alone – does it still work that way? Like, am I building up a giant wound in some part of me that will develop into massive psychic scar tissue that’ll cover the aching need for company that I’m feeling? Can a person ever learn to be fully alone, forever? I don’t think so. Just by the simple fact that a person’s first impulse after doing something they’re proud of is to want to tell somebody about it. You want other people to know about what you’ve done. It’s why a lot of successful criminals eventually get caught. Who wants to be great at something if nobody else knows about it? If you’re completely alone? It’s really hard to do something purely for yourself.


Only four and a half hours to work now. I got another coffee. The waitress is past concern. She just keeps looking at me with a mixture of “what’s next” and “give it up.” I could tell her all this stuff that I’m writing but I don’t want to. I don’t want to spread around my alone-ness. I just want to hold it close. Maybe I can smother it, like a flame without air. Or maybe it’ll smother me?


The snow stopped. I’ve become one with this bench. Maybe this is it? Maybe I’ll just go home and lock the doors and drink myself to death. It’s funny (maybe not funny, but more interesting) that that’s always an option. That it’s easy for me to just go home and drink all the alcohol I’ve legally bought and die. And it’s weird that I’m thinking about that now. No, I don’t really think I want to do that. But I could. Is it weird to think stuff like this? Is it weirder to write it down? To share it in some private way? I think it’s weird that we don’t share it more often.


A crash course in capitalism.

C/O Urban Spoon

But we don’t share much with anyone, do we? We don’t share thoughts like, when I’m driving, the thought that I could just flick the wheel to the left and kill at least a couple people. Or how, in the mall, I could just hurl myself from the escalator and scar, at least, 40 people for life.


And if I did tell someone those things they’d cringe and tell me how weird it was and how unnatural. But unnatural? Weird? They’re such a small step away from normal. They’re not difficult in practice or in imagination. They’re sitting there in plain sight every single day. But I guess they are weird, if weird, by definition, means something that’s uncomfortable to think about. But I don’t think I’m alone in thinking them. It’s just not OK to talk about.


Maybe that’s why I’m still in this booth. I need to do something weird. Do anything for long enough and you become an oddity. That’s how easy it really is to go outside the bounds of our culture. It’s as simple as too much, too long, too little, too anything. So I’m just going to keep sitting here. I’m going to find power in something that’s not my own loneliness.


And is this so weird? I’m just sitting here, enjoying some food. But the waitress probably thinks I’m crazy. And all the people who have come and gone have probably looked at the dressed up girl alone in her booth, scribbling away in some book and thought that she was either super depressing or probably screwed up. But I don’t feel screwed up. I feel good, actually. I feel in control.


I could kill myself at any moment. Any of us could. But we don’t. It’s the truth. The morbid truth. The unsettling truth. But it’s the truth nonetheless. The truth is the reality we live in, rather than the reality we choose to acknowledge.


And I think the fact that I’m thinking about it now makes me appreciate it a little bit more. Makes me appreciate life a little bit more. Like, I’ve had all these escape routes all this time from my sorrows and loneliness but I’ve never taken them. Like I’m stronger than I thought I was without even knowing it.


Within these walls, anything is possible.

C/O Yelp


Well it’s an hour from work. I guess I’d never have written any of this down if that guy had come. I guess I’d never have thought about any of this stuff if I’d had company. I probably would have just gone into the comfortable mode of “where do you work?” and “do you watch Game of Thrones” and everything else that we can ask anybody without fear. Maybe that’s the point of being alone? To think past everything you think of otherwise. To find something you originally thought was bad – or at least unsettling – and look into why it was bad. Why you thought it was the way it was. What is it that makes you uncomfortable? What is it that drives you away from that thing? Maybe being alone is about finding that the instinctual aversions to "weird" things are thinner than you previously thought.


 And find yourself expanding. Find yourself growing from the inside. Find yourself able to encompass and comprehend and appreciate ideas for what they are rather than what you’re societally-programmed to think they are.


Maybe being alone isn’t about armoring yourself against the world, but becoming more accepting to it? Maybe being alone is about finding peace with more and more ideas and thoughts and realities until you can never be uncomfortable. You can never feel weird. You simply feel that what you think and feel is fine because you know -- truly know -- everybody else thinks and feels the same exact things. That we’re really all alike and thus never truly alone. That we’re all just people trying to find some way to get through this day and the one after that, all the while struggling to find our own versions of success, learning and re-learning to let the petty injustices of reality slide off of us and holding onto the small joys that life affords us every single day if we only take the time to find them.


Then again, I really do want a boyfriend.




3.0 Stars

It’s a chain Coney Island and not even the best chain (that would be National Coney Island). But it’s tasty as all heck if you’re hankering for some AM munching. A late (boozy) night in Royal Oak is always boosted by a trip to Leo’s.


End of the month

You can find a heck of a lot for under $10.



Imagine a diner: pleather seats, linoleum tabletops, menu-at-the-table, now add an afterthought of ancient Greece. Odd? Yes. Endearing? Meh.


Working for the weekend (or whatever days they have off)

Nearly always solid and friendly, but it’ll depend on what type of day your waiter/waitress had.



The reasons to enter Leo’s Coney Island are few: late nights, laziness, quick bites and meeting a cheap friend. Not an essential part of the Michigan experience, but certainly one that doesn’t hurt it.


Harvest - Simsbury, CT

Did you have a bounty-laden Urmas? Were gifts given as freely as the plentiful turds of Uk-Bong the Feral Nutkin? Oooh-Wakooo, I pray they were.


Did your kin find themselves fraught with holiday fear? Surely in the wind you could imagine Uk-Bong’s howling gut-hunger. And in the trees his razor nails scraping at the windows? I know well the horror the jingle and jangle of metal blood-spheres brings to a child’s weak mind.

Know your Uk-Bong 

Indeed, good friend, this year’s Urmas may well have been our most festive yet. Grandfather dressed up as Uk-Bong himself and emerged from his earthen coffin on Urmas night. From the freezing dirt maw he threatened the children with hexes and blood-stink. Oh how their eyes lit with fear to know that Uk-Bong had not forgotten them!


But following the arcane instructions of Urmas like good little Nutkins, the children took their coal-laden bag-socks and stoned Uk-Bong back into the darkness of under-veld. Grandfather had so much fun he did not even mind the bruises!


We also rented a badger to dress up as Uk-Bong’s rabid steed. The whole family took part in wishing the caged badger unhappy nights as we made a feast of steamed gourds and candied leaves. Oh we sang such powerful tunes as Cover the Halls with Uk-Bong’s Fetid Hide, Gobo the Terpsichorean Snow-Daemon and I Saw Mommy Dragged to the Breeding Room by Uk-Bong.


In fact, this year we left a double offering of kidney, spleen and yam-nut nectar to quell Uk-Bong’s appetites. It was a potent lesson to the children, urging them to never be like Stingy Brother Yumstun whose miserliness of viscera-giving found his extended family boiled and served in Uk-Bong’s turded yurt.


My heart always soars when we lit aflame the slain tree-corpse. Of course, not before decorating it in the teeth and hair of our rivals. Beneath the needled cadaver we stowed Uk-Bong’s bain: gifts! Gifts from near and far to cement our blood-pact and to celebrate the driving of Uk-Bong back to his hell-cold lair.


A more comprehensive list is scrawled on the walls in the tongue of goats

How good it feels to deceive the children, though! On Urmas morning our young awoke to find all the presents gone. We claimed they had been eaten by Uk-Bong. Of course we had simply buried them in the mud of the roadside. After we revealed the subterfuge and the children’s sobbing ceased, they took genuine delight in digging the gifts out.


Impossible, it is, to explain the joy in the stupid face of a child as he peels open the turd-covering on his Urmas toy. Nephew Vort finally received the plastic Uk-Bong scapula he’d been coveting (his wet-nurse spoils him). Brother Ut was given a two-pronged stick. Blood-sisters Tak and Pok received conjoined boar-hair dolls. And Son Vintle again received nothing.


But it would not be a true Urmas without it culminating in the traditional feast. Though it may seem odd, our Urmas meal is eaten at Harvest Café. The morning after Urmas, its cozy walls hold us as a brood-mare’s bosom, helping us forget the horrors of the holiday. This year, as always, many other Urmas celebrants of the Simsbury area dined there as well.

Lithuanian (Oooh-Wakooo) Eggs Benedict  

Harvest is a hosanna-land of skillfully homemade baked goods. In addition, their selection of eggs benedicts indeed would set Uk-Bong’s teeth to gnashing. I myself selected a Lithuanian Benedict (specially concocted for the holidays), which boasted cheddar hollandaise, crumbled bacon and two perfectly-poached eggs upon homemade latkes – a taste-treat obscene in its delicacy.


Grandfather tenderly rubbed his belly after gorging on an entire plate of pancakes. Indeed his stomach swelled like Uk-Bong's had after his legendary feast of purloined toddlers.

Grandfather's use of syrup is a point of family-wide shame

What a delight it is to visit Harvest, year in and year out, and see the smile and vigor of Scott the man-waiter. Surely he is a being without age. I swear that he may be the opposite and equal human incarnation of Uk-Bong himself – Hammus the Gleaming Toad – but let us not sully this Urmas with made-up things.

Harvest meets any tradition in the death-bog of battle and laughs. It is a consistently excellent feeding ground and the crowds that flock to it are a testament to that very fact. While we choose to drag our yew sledge there but once a year, many others make it a weekly feast. If only we had the woven bark to afford such extravagances.


But be forewarned, you must arrive early to rapidly procure a table. Otherwise, like Neesbock the sluggish, you will be ever-waiting (for an hour or more) in a scrap-beggar’s queue.


Surely next Urmas will not match this one’s festivities; considering that this time next year half the children will be away learning their mud-spells and the other half we will force into the wild to fend or perish. But it is certain that when Harvest appears in our yearly portents of loam and nest-thistle, a meal to be remembered is close at claw.





3.9 Stars

Homemade food, New England style. Grains. Fruit. Deliciousness.



Typical diner prices for a-typically tasty diner-fare.


Rustic Connecticut-ish

The room is pleasant – with some fine paintings on the wall – but when it’s packed, it really just feels like a roomful of people.



Solid and prompt, nothing out of the ordinary; with Scott being the ever-present exception. Scott is a co-owner of the diner and is the rock of the wait-staff. Always chipper, always hustling around the floor and always a pleasure to chat with (though he can be a bit intense for a Sunday morning). Scott is a dining experience unto himself.



This is the best breakfast you’ll find around Simsbury, CT (not a metropolis, by any means). But for those of us who have lived there, Harvest brings Simsbury pride.


Monty's Grill - Royal Oak, MI

Welcome to Monty’s Grill in Royal Oak, Michigan! BOY do we have a show for you today. Folks, you’re about to see something special here. Today, you’ll have a chance to witness, all in one place, the very best that Monty’s has to offer.

Hailing from Metro-Detroit and beyond, these are the… MONTY’S GRILL ALL STARS!



NAME: Woman Who Sits Alone

POSITION: Corner of the bar by the free newspapers

GO-TO MEAL: Half an egg and a black coffee

BIO: Hailing from what is most likely a literal cathouse, this queen of quiet speaks to nobody. Is she a librarian? Is she mute like that lady from The Hunger Games: Catching Fire? Mum’s the word! Often staring out the window or scowling at your conversation, she lives by her creed: Don’t ask. Don’t tell!




OR IS IT: Joe? Jimpy?

GO-TO MEAL: Meatloaf, Fries (w/ extra salt) and a Vernor’s


BIO:  Need an opinion? Jammer’s got plenty! Johnboy here’s a conversational chimera; try to kill one and three more grow in its place. With the help of his super-hearing, he’ll jump in on any topic. War? The more the better. The Economy? Socialism is destroying it faster than he can say “Who is Karl Marx?” Entertainment? Everything after Styx is irrelevant except that puppet guy… Dunham! You should watch his HBO! Such is Jombor’s mighty prowess. With one lash of his tongue, Jobe can transform any discussion into a disquisition.


The Arena

Picture c/o Yelp


NAME: Flirty Waitress Who is Way Younger Than You Thought

POSITION: Bending over for something

AGE: I dunno… 24? 25? (She’s sixteen)

BIO: She’s young. You’re male. And it’s time. To. ORDER! Flaunting a newfound feminine body, no untoward gaze could shrivel this colt. Weathering the mostly good-hearted – sometimes awkward – insinuations of the male clientele with only the protectant naiveté of youth, this PYT is actually an honor student with a deep interest in literature. Who saw that coming?



NAME: Guy in Wheelchair with Unknown Ailment

POSITION: Below the counter

GO-TO MEAL: So much corned beef hash

HOW DOES HE GET HERE: Seriously, there aren’t any wheelchair vans in the lot and it’s cold outside

HE MUST BE: A wizard

BIO: Is it some form of degenerative disease? Was it a horrific car accident? He certainly doesn’t care! He’s the happiest man on two wheels. Bursting with conversations about the weather, the weather or the weather, this sagamore of seated smiles can hold court with any crowd. In a space that’s hardly wheelchair-friendly, this friendly wheelchairer brings a ray of sunshine to any brunchtime.



NAME: High Teenagers

POSITION: Paranoid


GO-TO MEAL: Ummmmm... Uhhhhhhhh… Ummmmm…

BIO: They’ll have the pancakes! Known to local parents as “The Instigator” and “The Tagalong” this doped-up duo has a Learner’s Permit between them and are taking their newfound freedom for a joyride. The only thing poorer than this pair’s diet are their decision-making skills. Hey Bros, can we snake a toke? Of course not! Their older brother’s stash is cached!


The gatekeeper.

Picture C/O Localstew, Michigan



NAME: Parent Who No Longer Cares

POSITION: Hunched and broken

GO-TO MEAL: An overflowing plate of regret

HEY WHAT ARE YOU DOING: Your kid is swallowing a knife

BIO: Better call Ch-Ch-Ch-Child Services because this parent has ch-ch-ch-checked out! This nabob of neglect is so adept at aversion that it wouldn’t make a difference if their child was eating with their hands or eating your hand. Hear that screaming? They don’t! Look deep into the ill-rested prison of their eyes and you’ll find the unvarnished framework of true pain!



NAME: That Guy You’ve Already Met Like Three Times

NAME: Shit…

POSITION: This place is too small to avoid eye contact forever

GO-TO MEAL: Oh God he’s coming over

BIO: Heeyyyyyyyyy man! How’s it going? The rest of my night? Which night was that? Yeah it was great. Yeahhhh there were so many people there that night. How’s work going? Good? Yeah? Same here. Going well. Yeah, status quo with what I do. Ok cool, man. Catch you later.

NAME: God dammit




NAME: Old Man Who Never Leaves

POSITION: Unchanging

GO-TO MEAL: Time itself

GEOLOGICAL ERA: Paleoproterozoic

BIO: The length of his meal can only be charted in the half-lives of Carbon. With speed akin to the shift of heavenly constellations, he erodes his way through a plate of deadly-cold hash browns. Is he even awake? Or is he slumbering the sleep of a trillion dreams? Tectonically he moves through his seat-bound sub-life, our existence the humming of flies to a stone. None may be so bold as to disrupt his endless vigil. Sit on, old soul. Sit on.


The Grill.

Picture c/o Flickr user b_weinstein



#10 (possibly soon-to-be #10 and #11)

NAME:  Couple that Got Into a Fight on the Way Over

POSITION: Same table/Miles apart

GO-TO MEAL: I’m not hungry


BIO: Whether she did it again when she said she wouldn’t or the toilet seat just won’t stay down, this prickly pair’s seating arrangement puts the “table” in “unstable.” On the crackling cusp of a breakup, this meal could either be the slow train to Splitsville or the mid-day express to Make-Up Sex-opolis. No matter which way it goes you can bet this beefy bro is fretting himself to a higher hairline.


The Owners.

Picture c/o Yelp


(The Real) #1s

NAME: Alex and Angie (as pictured above)

POSITION: Dominating the Diner

GO-TO MEAL: Breakfast Special #2 (my go-to at least): 2 eggs, 2 sausages, 2 pancakes, hash browns -- $5.95

BIO: This griddleman is no middleman. An overseer from overseas, Alex, the cook, hails from a former-Soviet country (which I cannot remember). From the crack of dawn to mid-afternoon he’s slinging brunch and lunch from a hole-in-the-wall he’s proud to call his own. Not to mention that his wife, and co-owner, Angie, also waitresses from time to time. And may I say she is a delightful lady who’s always up for a conversation. This couple has created something delicious and heartfelt and great and they deserve all the success in the world.  Don’t just visit Monty’s Grille, convert to it.



3.8 Stars

Simple. Home made. Satisfying. Plus you get to see it made, which always makes food taste better.



Did you see the price of their breakfast special? That’s in 2013 dollars. You will be very happy with the bill.


Don’t judge a book etc. etc.

It’s attached to a motel that looks like it probably offers hourly rates. Inside Monty’s, however, it’s cozy (not cramped) with an atmosphere of friendship, not exclusivity.


More than service

If you put the least effort in, your server will become your friend.



Monty’s Grill may not have the Very Best Food of all the diners in the Royal Oak/Ferndale area. But I still went there probably twice as often as any other. It’s a special place run by fantastic people. Eat at Monty’s Grill.


Ruby Tuesday/TGI Fridays/O’Charley’s/Applebee’s/Red Lobster/Olive Garden/Etc. – Philadelphia, PA





.1 Star

This is how you take advantage of people: serve only items that hit all the most widely-shared flavor notes among your key demographics – as indexed and cross-referenced through countless laboratory flavor studies. Then work out a national deal for nothing but the most cost-effective (that means cheapest without being able to taste it) ingredients for your staff to unseal, microwave, warm up or fry, and serve in portions with enough processed calories to feed a North Korean labor camp for a month. Now that’s casual dining!


Too Little Yet Too Much

Math designed to simultaneously accommodate and bilk the majority of proud American citizens.



Every single part of the décor (down to the color of the napkins) has been planned, reviewed by associates, reviewed by managers, reviewed by the CEO, completely redone, laboriously reviewed again by the aforementioned parties, redone slightly and then implemented (with an interior renovation already planned for 4th Quarter 2014). As charming as the firm of the accountant who ran the numbers (no hate on accountants).


 The Only (Kinda) Upside

“So. So. So Drunch! You mean to tell me you’re not happy that food corporations are out there making jobs for hard-working Americans that are simply struggling to make ends meet? You’re saying that you want all the waitresses and hosts and cooks and managers and franchisees of the United States of America -- who decided to call Ruby Tuesday/TGI Fridays/O’Charley’s/Applebee’s/Red Lobster/Olive Garden/Etc. their place of employ -- to be kicked out of their homes and banished, broken and destitute, to overgrown street corners with their tiny children weeping (shirtless!) over torn teddy bears in the pouring, cold rain? Huh? HUH?!”

No. I just wish that these sorts of restaurants didn’t exist. That way, the good people that work there could find another job and the good people that eat there could eat somewhere else. Preferably, somewhere that would support the local economy (of which those workers and eaters are probably contributing members) rather than reverse-funneling money up into the offshore bank accounts of a board of directors who could give somewhere between zero and negative one shits about actual, lovingly-prepared food.



For there is no stopping them.


Fernando's Mexican Cuisine - Dallas, TX

Have you heard of Paulo Profundo? Biggest man who ever lived!


They say Paulo could jump a river lengthwise.

In fact, Ol’ Heck Juggins saw Paulo barefoot kick a cactus in two! Swore it on his only son.


I heard Paulo could ride two bulls at once. Not only that, but he’d do it whistling as sweet a tune as you’d like to hear in the bushes on a hot Texas morning. That Paulo: larger than life itself!


Well, one day Paulo went to Fernando’s: the home of the biggest drink special a man could possibly devise. Five Bloody Marys for $8.

Yip yip! 

Shot ℅ Yelp 

$8! And each glass big enough to drown an armadilla! And the alcohol! Hoooweee! Just one whiff could get grand-pappy misty about the Alamo!


When old Paulo stomped in, he had a brushfire in his eye; he was there for the deal and the full deal he would have. Why, I was there I tell ya! I saw it all!


I was just settin’ at the bar when Paulo saunters in. You knew it was Paulo by the clang of his spurs. Glinting silver they were – big as hubcaps. 


The first drink was hardly on the table before Paulo grabbed and downed it in three bobs of his shapely adam’s apple.


Then he ordered a plate of chilaquiles and threw them out the window! He even tucked a crisp one into the waitress’ blouse, saying they’d been “delicioso.” By golly if that waitress didn’t blush brighter ’n’ a Plano sunset.


The second Bloody, why Paulo ate the entire thing! Plastic and all! Said it tasted like chicken; though anybody with half a brain knows plastic tastes like plastic. But by God if we didn’t believe him!


Third drink Paulo makes a show of. He wraps a nostril around the straw and sucks the whole lot up his snoot! Sounded like a fire hose caught in a sinkhole!

Heck, he even snorted the lime!


Now on the fourth drink Paulo starts to show wear. Sweat poppin’ up, lookin’ around like he’s some kinda mad. Like we was all there to see him fail! Why, not a soul in Fernando’s wanted to see Paulo go down before the fifth. Not even Fernando himself!


Anyway! Fourth drink Paulo pours into a bowl of queso and eats with a fork. Oddest thing I ever seen.


By that point, big old Paulo was huffing like a beestung buffalo. Man could empty a whiskey barrel for breakfast but by golly if those four Bloody Marys didn’t have him reeling. Jimbo Cotter swore he saw vapor lines comin’ out of Paulo’s mouth, but I don’t give that no truck because Jimbo Cotter is a thief. Still has my torque wrench.


The plate landed on a young boy. Turned him into a man!

Pic ℅ FunthingstodoinDallas


Well, you can bet Fernando himself was shaking when he put down that fifth Mary. Paulo stared at it for what must’ve been three hours. Hell, we missed the whole ball game waiting for him to make a move!


Finally, Paulo puts a big old mitt around the drink. Everybody’s holding their breath. Not a sound in the place but air wheezin’ outta old man Olynn’s oxygen tank. And what does Paulo do but lift that drink skyward and dump it over his head!


Well we all thought he’d lost it. Reckon’d he’d bought the ranch without walkin’ the fenceline! But then Paulo, he beckons Lynn Liedel to come and feel his hair.




Turns out Paulo’d absorbed that last Mary through osmosis! Damnedest thing anyone’s ever seen.


Why we had a parade that very day for Paulo and he was the only one in all of Dallas who didn’t come. In fact, Paulo robbed us all blind while we was out at the parade.


And can you guess who was angry? Not a one of us!


That Paulo. Biggest man who ever lived.



3.5 Stars

More Tex than Mex. This is ideal comfort food while recovering from a raucous night-before.



Given the grub vs. price ratio, you might as well be kissing Ayn Rand smack on her scowling mouth.



Looks like any restaurant ever. Nothing standout good or bad here.


Clasped hands

Good stuff.



Really depends on your situation. If you want a pile of food to shove down your face-hole, it’s a great choice. If you’re looking for an authentic and original spot for some Mexican cuisine, this is not it.





Pat's Hubba Hubba - Port Chester, NY

Hey man! What’s up? OK, you want Me™ to Fly-ify™ you to “food.” 

Is that correct?

*be dong doop* You said “yeah,” right? Great!

OK! How about we go to Pat’s Hubba Hubba? You’ve been there quite a few (63) times. Sound good?

I’m sorry, “whatever” is a noncommittal response. Do you really want Me™ to take you to Pat’s Hubba Hubba? 

Based on your previous responses, “jeeeesus” means “yes.” All ready to go?

*be dong doop* Alright! Here we go, man! Please stand still for ITPR (intratranspositionalrelocation) travel. Per AGMI standards please keep your arms tightly crossed and heels together. 

3.2.1… fffffffFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFfffffffffffff

Employee: Hey Boss, the name on the sign isn't right.

Boss: Is that a problem?

Picture C/O Yelp 

Here we are. Pat’s Hubba Hubba. Is that right? Great! 

You want to call “Her”? OK, I’ll call “Her” now.

*be dong doop* Looks like she’s busy. She sent you this custom Me Away™ message. I’ll read it in her voice.

“Oh hey B.F. I’m a sceech busy. Y so srs aboot calling me? J/K J/K LOL ;). Call back soon. Luv ya.”

So, what do you want to order, man? I’m sorry, I don’t see “I already ordered” on the menu. What do you want to order, man? I’ve heard from (Reviewer NaMe™: Dub_Skrull Dicktopus)that the “chili” here is “yo my boi D sells ill X and nugs and any shit u ned. Jus nock d table. He come up and no wat u down 4 right? Fukyea 420 nshiiiii.” 

Does that help you?

I’m sorry, “I already ordered!” isn’t on the menu. 

*be dong doop* OK I’ll “shut up” now.

You want me to call “Her”? OK, I’ll call “Her” now. 

*be dong doop* Looks like she’s busy. She sent you this custom Me Away™ message. I’ll read it in her voice.

“Oh hey B.F. I’m a sceech busy…”

*be dong doop* OK I’ll “shut up” now.

This restaurant is cool. Even though you’ve been here (63 Prev.) times, you’ve never taken a Me™mory. Do you want to make a Me™mory?  Did you say “Fine. Sure.” OK! This’ll be awesome. 

My T-eye-p™ Translator will transcribe a narration over your Me™mory. What genre would you like the description in? Horror? Fantasy? Hard Boiled Thriller? Memoir? 

OK! What type of memoir? Interpretive? Straightforward? Nostalgic. OK, Nostalgic it is. Here we go!

*be dong doop* Me™mory Transcript: 1:14 PM, Oct 25, 2022:

Pat’s Hubba Hubba (known to those familiar with it as Hubba’s) is no haven of interior design. A restaurant jammed into a hallway bisected by a bar, stools on one side, an extremely long kitchen space on the other. It’s the type of place you’d expect drug deals to go down and have your expectations validated. The walls are covered in a mosaic of old dollar bills, each with the name of its donors scrawled upon it. Ancient messages like GRIZ Crew 1998: Best Eva or KP + ID <3 Hubba’s or simply Suk dick. 

Ladies and gentleman, Hubba's.

Picture C/O Jack Sorokin (sweet photos BTW)

Hubba’s is a place that takes time to love. As you grow older, so does the passion it inspires.

Hubba's is less a restaurant than it is a stage of life. Normally, its significance is brought to bear by the acquisition of a license. That time, in a young person's life of -- until-then -- unparalleled freedom, when the world seemed to open up like an exotic flower.  And what makes Hubba’s special, is that it’s an absolute vacuum of supervision. A place you can go that’s seedy enough to be safe from the disapproving eyes of responsible adults. You, and whoever you happen to be with, are free to act however idiotic you wish, with only the half-disapproving, half-uncomprehending stares of patron whose language you cannot speak.

Behind the counter, one always hears the soporific bubbling of chili: nectar of some South American god. Every order must come with chili. Not that the menu says so. It's simply that if you go to Hubba's and you don't have their chili, you might as well have not gone to Hubba's at all. 

Yes. Here it is: the Chili Cheese Dog Wedge – a crack-addictive combination that sticks two grilled hot dogs (sliced vertically) into a sub roll, covered in both American cheese and chili – an item whose heat-filled deliciousness cannot be paralleled. Especially when matched with Hubba Water.

Take a large Styrofoam cup, add a dash of non-name-brand fruit punch, then fill up the rest with water: Hubba Water. Conjured from the mind of some unknown genius, Hubba Water is, of course, a taste that requires acquisition. But just like everything else about Hubba’s, it is unique. You will not find Hubba Water in other restaurants and if you do, it can’t be the same. The oddly fruity aftertaste doesn’t necessarily “go” with the food. But on another level, something spiritual or perhaps philosophical, it is a vital part of the experience. 

Surely the quintessential nature of th—

You want me to call “Her”? OK, I’ll call “Her” now. 

*be dong doop* Looks like she’s busy. She sent you this custom Me Away™ message. I’ll read it in her voice.

“Oh hey B.F. I’m a sceech bus…”

A trifecta. Nay. The Trifecta. Chili Chee dog Wedge. Chili Chee Fry. Hubba Water.

Picture C/O Ben Hider

You want me to call “Her” again? Just so you know, this is the… (21st) time you’ve called her today. It seems as though she… 

You want me to call “Her”? OK, I’ll call “Her” now. 

*be dong doop* Holla at Me™ Transcript 1:18 PM, Oct. 25, 2022:

“Stop calling me. Seriously.”

“Why haven’t you picked up? Are you ok?”

Said at 1:19 PM, Oct. 25, 2022

“I’m fine… I just….”

“I mean, did I do something wrong? I know you’re my first… well only girlfriend and I don’t want to make you m—

“No. Stop. Just stop calling me. I’m sorry but we’re not dating anymore.”

“Umm… What?”

“I’m sorry. You’re a nice guy. But we can’t date anymore. Something just—.”

“Wait a second. What? We’re not dating?”

“ummmm… yeah.”

“Jeliah, wait I—“

End of Holla at Me™ Transcript 1:20 PM, Oct. 25, 2022

Why say anything, when it's already been said... in song.

Picture C/O Holly Eats

Woah! Cool! “Best Bud” wants to Me™et you.  Will you allow him to Fly-ify™ to your location? 

*be dong doop* OK, awesome. 


Here he is! 

Pairing Me™ with “Best Bud.” Auto-transcript On.

“Yo what’s up man? Oh shiiiiiiit. Look at that C.C. Dog Wedgemon.”

“Yeah man…”

Said at 1:24 PM, Oct. 25, 2022

“Yo! Can I get a Chili Cheese Dog… Yo! Hey! Cook! Yeah… Can I. Can I get a chili cheese dog wedge. And Hubba water… Oh, and chili cheese fries. Sweet… So what’s up dude?”

“Not much… I mean something but I... I don’t know.”

“… You alright?”

“Jeliah. She broke up with me.”

“Oh damn man. Damn…”


Said at 1:29 PM, Oct. 25 2022

“That’s… That sucks. Cause she’s hot man... Actually, I—”

“I mean, she’s kind of a handful in public and stuff. But when it’s… it was just her and me? It was… natural.”

I’m sorry, did you want Me™ to make a “Nature Documentary”?

*be dong doop* OK. I’ll “shut up” now.

“Yeah your Me™ is fucked too? Mine kept asking if I wanted to listen to emo music while I was jerking off. Thought the chicks I was watching were crying. LOL.”

These are the type of brave men who think, "why buy menus when we have all these paper plates?"

Picture C/O Jack Sorokin 

Hey! It looks like “Her” changed her status from “In a relationship with (you)” to “Single.”

“But yeah man that sucks… Jeliah is choice. Uh, was I guess... Luscious too.”

Hey! It looks like “Her” changed her status from “Single” to “In a relationship with (Best Bud).”

*be dong doop* I’m sorry, you’re speaking too fast. I can’t understand your commands. Please make sure not to yell when giving commands. 

*be dong doop* I think you want me to make that “Nature Documentary” Me™mory. OK, I’ll just go ahead and record a “Nature Documentary” Me™mory. 

Me™mory Transcript: 1:40 PM, Oct 25, 2022:

The young males are visibly agitated. The smaller, bespectacled male has been vexed. The larger male has developed far more muscle in his late adolescence. This is a risky confrontation for our smaller friend.

See how their nostrils flare. This involuntary action, along with others such as clenched fists and a flush that spreads from the cheeks to the entire face, signals that a conflict of some sort is imminent. In this case, the row seems to be over a female. Rarely is it ever not.

Ah, but here’s something, the small male knows a bit of martial arts. Raising his fists in, slightly sloppy, Wing Chun style he prepares. It’s a tense moment between these two young males.

Oh! But here we are! Our larger male appears to be sending out a white flag in the form of an outstretched hand. This age old gesture an attempt to bury the hatchet, so to speak. The younger male contemplates it. We can see tears of strain and tension on his cheeks.

My word. It looks like the conflict may be resolved without any bad blood. Shakily, our smaller male uncoils his fist and pushes forward an open hand.

Oh no! It was a feint. With his guard down, our small male just received a blow to the stomach. He’s gasping beneath the stools.

Victory assured, our larger male dispatches a few parting grunts before turning to leave. 

But what have we here? Our small male is rallying. *Begin African-y Bongo Drum Soundtrack* 

Silently, laboriously, he rises. The larger male has not yet heeded the new advance.  Thanks to an adrenal reaction, our younger male has picked up fantastic speed.

Wow! A square blow dead center of our larger male’s back! It’s sent him right into the counter. An unexpected hit! The larger male is not getting up.

Now, the gravity of the altercation increases. From the larger male’s unmoving head a small puddle of blood is rapidly growing. How the fortunes of... HOLD 

I think I just witnessed a (c/: 911-3581) punishable act of physical violence. Please wait one moment while I send this to AGMI Justice™ for review. 

Oh Hubba's. Never change.

Picture C/O Jack Sorokin 

*be dong doop* I’m sorry, you can’t shut Me™ off while I transmit with AGMI Justice™.  

*be dong doop* I’m sorry you can’t shut Me™ off while I transmit with AGMI Justice™. 

*be dong doop* I’m sorry, your Me™ Link connection cannot be turned off at this time.


OK, please stand still and don’t struggle. You’ve been locked down. After reviewing the following video: “Me™mory Transcript 1:40 PM, Oct 25, 2022: Pat’s Hubba Hubba Nature Documentary" AGMI authorities have created a summons (P932-H8242-Br32n4-233n4n) for immediate sentencing.

Beginning ITPR (intratranspositionalrelocation) travel. Per AGMI standards please keep your arms tightly crossed and heels together. 

3.2.1… fffffffFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFfffffffffffff

*be dong doop* Welcome to AGMI Justice™. Please do not struggle. Justice™ will be served in the order in which you arrived.

*be dong doop* I’m sorry, I can’t record here. Factory settings do not allow me to record while in JUSTICE MODE

SENTENCE (P932-H8242-Br32n4-233n4n):






3.0 Stars

Try Hubba's once, you’ll give it a three. Try it twice, you’ll give it a three point five. Currently, I’d personally give Hubba’s about a twelve out of five stars. 



The menu is paper plates stapled to a wall. 


Psychotic, Poor Scrooge McDuck

A wallpapering of dollar bills. Yes, it really looks like that. Is it sanitary? Probably not. Is it amazing? You bet your jiggling petoot it is.



They take your order promptly. They’re very polite. But somehow, you always feel as if you’ve done something wrong or are just generally in the wrong place. Which makes it even better.



Hubba’s is the type of restaurant that defines you as a person. If you don’t like it, it’s not because something is wrong with Hubba’s; something is wrong with you. I know that might sound harsh, but I cannot tell a lie. Hubba’s is a goddamn national treasure.

Caiola's (Brunch) - Portland, ME

The egg didn’t think highly of herself. Spending all her time with the cream had given her quite the complex. How could it not? The cream was so full of herself; knowing, and constantly expressing, that she was the top of her kind.

Nobody flirted with the egg; the cream got all the attention. The bread would flex its strong crust at her. Bacon would utter just lewd things, so bold. Luckily, the one breakfast meat the egg and cream mutually lusted after stayed silent: sausage.

Oh, how her yolk fluttered for sausage.

She never even dreamed of mixing with him. It was too daring, too audacious. As far as she knew, the people in white would not allow it.

From the scuttlebutt in the fridge, eggs like her had only rarely “mixed” with sausage. Normally, her spotted kind were stuck next to thin toast or put upon a bed of steadfast, earthy hash browns. Not that one could complain. Potatoes were alright. A bit of a bore.


You are looking at obscene deliciousness.

 Picture ℅ Map and Menu

“Dahling,” said the cream.

Not now, thought the egg.

“Oh dahling, you just can’t believe what a good feeling I have.”

“Is that right?”

“How can you be so very serious at a time like this?”

“A time like what?”

“Why girl don’t be so daft,” said the cream, looming imperiously over the egg’s carton. “It’s nearly our turn!”

Sure enough, the carton was nearly empty. The egg saw that there were only a couple of her kind left. She felt a thrill in her yolk.

Would she finally meet her lover on the hot, hot stove? Would she finally be allowed some sort of romance in what had been, to date, a very uninteresting and chilly life? Or would she most likely end up in a lonely lump, sectioned off on the plate to be eaten with overpowering ketchup, that uncouth fellow who seemed fine to mingle with almost anything?

“I’m just so very bothered,” said the cream. “I feel just as rich as the day I was skimmed. Don’t you?”

“Well,” said the egg, “I was laid…”

“Quite, quite,” said the cream, “I’m glad you agree.”

They both heard a sound that made them hold their respective non-breath: the squeak of crocs on restaurant-quality rubber. Soon came the suction sound. Then, a sliver of light opened up to the full, bustling panorama of the kitchen.


Is tat door a basktball Hoop b/c evry meal s a SLAM DuNK! Ohhhhh noooooNonoNonoNooooooOooOo.

Picture ℅ Maine Today


A white apron appeared, raising it’s hand. The hand found the cream, of course, who burbled with delight. But as soon as she was grabbed, her glossy form was quickly scooted aside. The white apron snatched the egg. 

The egg felt weightless, finally chosen. She could hear the cream’s indignation. But the feeling of euphoria didn’t last long; dread swept over her again. She’d be scrambled into a mushy mess. She’d never reach the grandeur of a benedicted egg; that round, gleaming whiteness, covered in a flowing cape of sauce, perched atop a hunk of glistening ham. No, it could never be that good. Always a bridesmaid, never a bride. Whatever that meant.

The egg was placed beside the griddle, staring out over a veritable orgy of carnal delight, the likes of which she had neither expected nor seen before. Bacon sizzled next to chorizo. Eggs and cheese melted into each other’s embrace. A tingling started inside her.

The egg knew she would be scrambled into mush. She just knew it. But the tingling remained. A glimmer of hope inside her dappled shell.

Oddly enough, the white apron picked up a thick slice of bread and cut out a section in the middle, placing the bread upon the slick, oiled cooking surface. And then with a swift motion, before the egg could even think to protest, the white apron cracked her eternal cover, and poured her, naked, into the rapidly hardening bread’s embrace.

The Bird's Nest: it tastes better than skinny feels.

Picture ℅ Cloak & Dagger 

The egg never thought bread could feel like this. Certainly, she’d gossiped about it with the cream and other eggs. But this bread was so tender, yet so strong. He became stiff as she heated up, her form becoming white and glossy, a color the cream could only ever dream of having. It was amazing. The egg moistened with heat and delight.

And then they were flipped, the bread more on top than around her, penetrating her from seemingly every angle. It was getting so hot. A dash of pepper and salt added some spice to their frantic mingling. The pleasure was so intense the egg could hardly stand it. This bread was amazing: so intuitive in how he enveloped her. Like he was reading her mind and reacting to every thought before she could utter it. She and the bread heaved there on the griddle, for all to see.

By the time the white apron laid the two of them onto a cool plate, the egg was shivering with pleasure. The two of them lay there, saying nothing to each other, simply basking in their mutual heat.


Hey. Hey, Cook. Good job.

Picture ℅ Caiola's 

But it seemed that the white apron was not quite done yet. As they lay in each other’s embrace, the white apron appeared with a pot, in which something thick was simmering. A ladle appeared, and the egg gasped.

But what was she smelling? It was something strong, powerful with a hint of spice. No, surely it couldn’t be sausage. This smelled so much fuller, more intensely masculine. It was as if sausage had been distilled somehow, intensifying his most basic, beautiful elements. It couldn’t be sausage. She couldn’t be this lucky.

But it turned out, she was.

With a flick of the wrist, the white apron covered the egg and toast in a powerful, thick layer of sausage gravy. Smooth yet full-bodied. Unbelievable in its potency.

She and the bread both moaned involuntarily. Stores of passion opened up beneath what they thought had been completely spent.

It was an orgy of flavor and texture. Passion rising with each heated moment as they mingled and came to know one another, fully and truly.

They whispered to each other, that trio of flavors. Buttery words of passion slipped between them as they rolled and caressed every inch of each other, the plate, once cold, now warm and steaming beneath them.

All this business, this, sexuality, should have made her feel dirty; a prim egg like herself, completely innocent and unaware of the carnal pleasures that this kitchen permitted. But it felt so right, completely natural. She couldn’t have resisted if she tried. She surrendered herself to the sensations that surrounded her.

The egg was so enraptured with the sausage gravy and toast, she hardly notice that a group of sweet potato fries – shoestring style – had been placed beside them. She didn’t mind their gawking. In fact, in spite of herself, she found that she enjoyed it. Simply, yolk and white-encompassing pleasure. The egg was in ecstasy.


"Why is he writing this?" you wonder. Because I can.

Picture ℅ Blueberry Files 

When they’d done everything imaginable to each other -- their romp complete -- they were placed under a hot light.

In that moment, the egg saw something: the cream. Their gazes connected. Even from a distance, the egg could see the envy on the cream’s quivering countenance.

But it didn’t end there. The cream was picked up and poured into a small burnished pitcher. The worst fate of all! She’d be forced to “know” a pot of chatty coffee or snobby tea. A more quotidian end for that hifalutin tea neither the egg nor the cream could imagine.

The things the egg had felt, the heights of passion and pleasure she had found made her almost sorry for the cream. But really, who could feel sorry for that supercilious dame.

The egg put her mind to the present. She knew that her, and her partners’ end was near. It was the natural way for all food to go; each plate eventually whisked off into the bustling commotion of the dining area, that place from which none came back. At least, not the way they left.

It was time to enjoy herself. The egg had been lucky, she knew, ending up in a Bird's Nest with these unsurpassed ingredients. Here in Caiola’s, she could never have guessed the delights that had awaited her. So, rather than think of any future she simply enjoyed the moment. For there is little worse than squandering pleasure with cold, rational thought.



5.0 Stars

Food porn. There is no other way to describe it. Best brunch in Portland.


Upper Middle Class

For two people, you’ll end up paying ~$40 all told. As opposed to the $35 you’d spend for any other legit brunch. Worth it for sure.


Rural Italy

Wooden tables. Cute pictures. Comfy (not cramped) seating. However that does mean there could be a wait, so go early.


AAA (not major league)

Great servers all around. Smiling. Keeping that coffee filled. Only once did it take a fair bit to get food. But a little more time with your morning coffee? C’mon.



If you are in Portland on a Sunday morning, there is no possible excuse you can make to not go to Caiola’s brunch. Plague? Tough it out. Plane crash? Go as a zombie. Grandma died? Grandmas die. Wait, that last one was mean. Sorry I love you G mama.



Lafayette Coney Island - Detroit, MI

            A man could wander into Lafayette Coney Island and think, “ugh.” He could order a Coney Dog or two and find himself underwhelmed by the traditional bun, uninteresting frank and the brown chili that drapes it. Hell, he could stick his nose under every last beige, steel, and seafoam green inch of the place and find nothing of note. Indeed, a man could do such a thing. But let us all hope we are not that man.


Picture C/O Foodspotting

            They say Detroit is dying.

            And not a clean, dignified death. A death that sips – not gulps – its life away. The city like a family member so far gone to disease that its residents are forced to love it through memories while trying not to hate what it has become.

            But that is not true.

            The people who lament its death don’t understand that a city cannot die. That death is reserved for us alone. That a city lives in the minds of the people and not in the buildings themselves. That no matter how much it crumbles, no matter how abandoned its skyscrapers or overgrown its lots, that the real city – the Detroit that’s visible only to those who love it – is still as vibrant as El Dorado.

            A man could look at Detroit and think, “so sad. A failed city.”

            Lafayette Coney Island is not a place for such a man. Detroit is not a place for such a man.


            In Lafayette Coney Island’s unwieldy name, in its dingy bathroom, in its frill-less food preparation, in its yellowed tile and aging ownership, there is something essentially human. A need to cling to tradition and to the past.  An “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality applied to a situation that probably broke long ago.

            But if it were you, would it be any different?

Picture C/O Hollyeats.com

Circa 2010.


            How difficult must it be to own a landmark in a former metropolis? To see the city you loved change, and that for the worse? To see the very landscape around you weather an economic upheaval that has blown, war-like, through building and home alike? And ask yourself: what sort of man sees change like that – destructive, malicious change – and thinks, “well I should change too.” 

            Our perception, historians and physicists agree, defines reality. If we see a ball as green, it is a green ball. The ball has no say in the matter. If our perception told us the ball was red, not green, we would say the ball is red. The ball couldn’t speak up and protest its intrinsic “green-ness”. If we see it as green, it is green. If we see it as red, it is red. Which means, as our perception changes, so do the very objects we perceive. Allow me to explain.

            Lafayette Coney Island was born in a time when fast food was a blessing. Plates piled shoulder-high, the cooks slathered Coney dogs with signature chili and mustard, sprankled them with onions and slung ‘em down the counter to laborers and families alike. In 1914, or thereabouts, nobody thought of carbs or gluten or processed foods or ambience or poly-unsaturated fats.


Picture C/O Automobilemag


            Lafayette Coney Island contained clean plates and fresh food for minimal price. What more needed to be sold? The perception of the place was that it was wholesome, traditional and cheap. And that was the reality of the place.

            And while nothing has changed at Lafayette Coney Island, everything else has. And so reality has changed with it.

            What was perceived as “fast service” is now “low quality.” What was perceived as “diner ambience” seems haphazard and cramped. What was perceived as a “Traditional Coney Dog” is now a once-in-a-blue moon sodium-fest that any halfway health-conscious American will eat with a pang of involuntary guilt. All this could seem sad. But it’s not sad, it simply is.


Picture C/O Roadfood 

            People still love their Coney Dogs, despite what they now represent. People still love the ambience despite its hard-nosed adherence to the past. People still love the name, despite the fact that nobody outside of Michigan even knows what a Coney Island is.

            As our perception changes, so does reality itself. Whether we decide to like the resulting reality is up to us.

            And really, what is not to love about that dog. A warm bun surrounding a sizzling, all-American frank. The key ingredient, of course, being the chili that blankets the whole deal. Lafayette’s brand of chili being more meat than veg, and providing a low-level heat whose piquancy is supported and accentuated by the mustard and onions. It is not an ambitious combination, but then again, most great things rarely are. It is the height of simplicity, a taste spectrum distilled into 5-6, equal bites. It practically eats itself.


Picture C/O Theeatenpath

            They say Detroit is dying.

            But they can’t realize that death is simply another form of change. Certainly, Detroit may be crushed by a debt that has forced people out like mice from a burning barn. But that’s simply one version of Detroit.

            Did you know Henry Ford started two, failed motor companies?

            The first, the Detroit Automobile Company: went under after two years. The second, The Henry Ford Company, he quit after only a year. His third, the Ford Motor Company, you know that one.

            Could this Detroit be a first try?  A city from whose ashes a stronger Detroit will spring? Or is it a failed, last chance, forced into the same breath as Pompeii and Ephesus? Regardless of what Detroit is now, we know that time will bring change.

            And when the city changes – because there’s no way it can’t – will it be a single person who takes it upon themselves to mold the future Detroit, like Henry Ford did for cars and America itself? Or will the people leave Detroit, spreading like spores and germinating facets of Detroit in cities across America? Or will the people of Michigan simply weather the worst economic storm ever to make landfall in an American city, and, once it’s over, shrug it off like only a Michigander could?

            History repeats itself. It is a platitude and therefore, like all the oldest clichés, it is deeply true. Detroit rose from nothing and perhaps will sink back into that selfsame dirt. But it will not disappear. It was and therefore it can never not have been. And at some point, be it tomorrow, the day after or in a time none of us will ever see, I believe it will return. It will return thanks to song and story and dreams embedded, dormant, in the minds of people who could not forget.

            They say Detroit is dying.

            But they are not Detroit!


            And in that future, Lafayette Coney Island will stand unmoved, an anchor to the past. Uncompromising in its fare, its attitude, and its very existence in a city where existence is a privilege rather than a right.

            A man could wander into Lafayette Coney Island and see just another outdated diner, trapped in the pitiable midst of an expiring giant. But I am not that man. And neither are you.



3.0 Stars

Coney. Dogs. If you like ‘em, 5 stars. If you don’t like ‘em, 1.


Out of Pocket

After a night out, you can find yourself paying for an entire meal what you just paid for a single drink.



Formica, steel and tile. It was built to last and last it has.



You get your dogs fast and with flair. Somehow, the spectacle of a man with like 8 platefuls of processed meat piled up to his shoulder never gets old.



A landmark that shows its age in the best possible ways. Uncompromising. Unpretentious. Unmissable.


Pai Men Miyake - Portland, ME

Pai Men Miyake

a review done through haikus

sit down and get zen

Pai Men: the joint's name

Means 100 noodles, so

carb town here I come

"Want to do Pai Men?"

But we ate there yesterday.

And the day before.

Seat by the kitchen

Beware. Hella smoke. Stinging eyes.

Shit ventilation

Be like an authentic Japanese Salaryman; drink until you cry.

Picture C/O Map and Menu

Solid drink menu

Good beers, wine, cocktails. Though I

always get Bunker.

Time to mix it up

Try a new entree for once

“The usual?” Yes.

The Shoyu Ramen

shoyu = soy sauce, man

Japanese ketchup

The Miso Ramen

Miso hungry. Haha! Right?

You get it? Is joke.

Miso sad you didn't like joke.

Picture C/O Foodspotting

The Paitan ramen

salty, beefy, taste-bud slap

sodium crunk bomb

Sweet, noodle Jesus

Look at all this damn ramen.

Now it's inside me.

You ever seen one of those helicopters that pick up water to put out forest fires?

Picture C/O Yelp user Rachel D.

Waitress walked right by

my beer’s empty WTF

I made eye contact

Perfect meal you ask?

The brussels appetizer,

Shoyu ramen, beer.

Great spicy tuna.

You don’t like spicy tuna?

What? Impossible.

Spicy tuna are known for their bright scales and Sriracha blood.

Picture C/O Foodspotting

Inside, smoke. Strong smell.

Outside get gawked at so hard.

Still, both are worth it.

Take a date there.

Pay for it like a G-baus.

Cash for drinks after.

Better Japanese?

In Portland for the same price?

Go to Pai Men high.

Hipsters welcome!

C/O Flickr user Corey Templeton

Ate Pai Men last week.

Put on the same-ass jacket.

Still smells like ramen.


4.2 Stars

Ramen. I mean c’mon. Japanese chicken noodle soup for the teenage soul. Sure, their apps and rolls and even salads are diggity delicious too. But, ramen.



Right in the middle of the road. Get out of a full meal for two for $50 to $60 with dranks.  For the quality of food, It’s a bargain, ya?! 


Wood ‘n’ stuff

Nicely put together. Though you will notice the smell as soon as you come in. It's a pungent place with all that broth-a-cooking.


冷 Shoulder

I’ve been there regularly and while service is always cheerful, there’s something passive aggressive about their timing. Let's stamp this one "adequate."



You ever had authentic japanese ramen, punk? No? NO? Give this jamma a try.